City making progress on two overpass construction projects

Location of the Highland overpass (Source: KAIT-TV)
Location of the Highland overpass (Source: KAIT-TV)
Mark Nichols (Source: KAIT-TV)
Mark Nichols (Source: KAIT-TV)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - City of Jonesboro engineers met with designers from Michael Baker International and representatives from Union Pacific Railroad to talk about the overpass plans on Airport Road Wednesday.

Traffic Operations Engineer Mark Nichols said about 30 trains cross Airport Road each day, sometimes even stopping on the tracks and blocking the road for periods of time.

So, the city is in the process of designing an overpass to help with traffic flow in that area.

And since the overpass will be located just west of the existing road, Nichols said traffic shouldn't be delayed as badly as in other projects.

"Delay will be minimized," Nichols said. "Of course when they tie in at both ends there will be some delays, but for the most part you'll see the construction going on and it will have very minimal delays."

Nichols said they're still in the design phase of the project.

"One of the things we're also excited about, it will have a multi-use trail on the east side of the structure," Nichols said. "Of course there's no trail on Airport Road, but it'll have that window so in the future if we ever want to add one, the bridge will have capabilities for that."

The next steps are right-of-way acquisition and moving utilities before the project can be set for construction.

So, Nichols estimates construction to start by next year.

Nichols also provided an update on the planned Highland overpass.

He said designing is 100% complete, and acquisition is almost finished as well.

After this overpass is built, Nichols said traffic throughout the city should see improvement.

"Well, with this new overpass and whenever we have Commerce Drive built people will have another option to come into the city with hopefully less delay and without the delay of trains," Nichols said.

Nichols said they're hoping construction will begin late this year, and the project will take about two years to complete.

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